Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

Safe Swimming Tips for Dogs

 Safe Swimming.

Swimming is a low impact activity that can have some definite benefits for dogs going through a rehab program, or for healthy dogs exercise plans.  It can be great for cardiovascular fitness.  So why do i often cringe when asked “Should I swim my dog?”

photo by Joyce Marshall
photo by Joyce Marshall

First, we need to establish what “going for a swim” means to each owner.   Most dog owners are actually asking if their dogs can retrieve in the water.   This usually entails running into the water from the shoreline, then swimming, then running back to the owner, or at least to the water’s edge.   Shorelines can be anything from flat and sandy, to rocky and uneven, to slippery algae-covered rocks.   So although the actual “swimming” may be beneficial to the pet, the entry and exit of the water could be the worst thing that a pet recovering from an injury could do.   Even just the “weekend warrior” pet can be injured running over the uneven terrain and the slippery water entry.

The safest way to prevent injury is to go into the water with your dog until the water is at least up over their elbows and knees.   You want to be at a depth where they can stand but that when you throw the toy/stick/ball they immediately go back into a swim.   This way you avoid the leaping and the running on any non-ideal terrain.  You will have to train this behavior.  Some dogs still want to run back to the shore line.

Also, keep in mind how hard sustained swimming can be.  If your pet starts to hesitate to bring you the ball or stick, or is panting with his/her tongue out, or going up on the shore and lying down, then please recognize that they need a break and force them to take it.  My Duck Toller will take the ball up onto the beach and lie down when she is tired, but if I throw something for my Australian Kelpie,  the Toller is up and back into the water in a flash, even if she is really too tired to swim again.   I often have to leash her to get her to take the much needed break!

Dr. Fisher and Quick enjoying a swim.
Dr. Fisher and Quick enjoying a swim.

So as you can see, there is no simple answer.  Always check with your rehab veterinarian as to whether or not swimming is appropriate for your dog.  Make sure you have a  clear idea of the guidelines and that you both have the same definition for “swimming”.

Dr. Janis Fisher, DVM, CVA, CCRT, Certified by CoAC

Our dynamic, passionate and dedicated customer care team wants you to experience inspired, integrated veterinary health care.  Our broadly educated veterinarians, technologists and clerical support staff meld conventional veterinary medicine and surgery with diverse special interest fields including: nutrition (commercial and home prepared feeding plans), acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, canine rehabilitation, feline friendly practice and more.  Take the first step and join us online at www.fullcirclevet.ca to learn more and to link to our Facebook page.



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Last updated: June 5, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective June 5, 2020 some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.


This includes Canine Rehabilitation Services, Animal Chiropractic, TCVM Consultations, Bloodwork for Referral Services, Wellness Exams, Vaccines and more!



If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.


We are OPEN with the following hours:

- Monday to Friday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives Inc.